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Sizing of and Ground Potential Rise

Calculations for Grounding Transformers for
Photovoltaic Plants
M. Ropp, Member, IEEE, D. Schutz, Member, IEEE, C. Mouw, Member, IEEE

 excessively overdesigned results; and b) quantitative

Abstract— Due to concerns about ground fault recommendations for calculating the correct current to be
overvoltage, increasing numbers of North American used in IEEE 367 ground potential rise calculations, again
utilities are requiring that PV plants be effectively based on fundamental considerations. The procedures
grounded before an interconnect permit can be issued. presented are demonstrated via examples, and vetted by
This generally equates to a requirement that a grounding testing against simulation results from a detailed 4-wire
transformer be installed, because most PV inverters are feeder model.
not inherently grounded. This requirement creates two
First: there is uncertainty amongst PV plant designers Index Terms—Ground fault overvoltage, effective grounding,
as to how to correctly specify these grounding photovoltaics, inverter, distributed generation, grounding
transformers in terms of impedance and current-handling transformer.
capability. The grounding transformer impedance must
balance the concerns of maintaining effective grounding
while not desensitizing utility protection. The ratio-of- I. NOMENCLATURE
impedances method described in IEEE 142 cannot be DG Distributed Generation
applied to inverter-based sources because the inverter GFO Ground Fault Overvoltage
impedances are not well defined. A new recommendation GPR Ground Potential Rise
for the grounding transformer impedance is being GSU Generator Step-Up (transformer)
proposed in IEEE 1547.8, but many developers and field
engineers are either unaware of it, or are not clear on how II. INTRODUCTION
to use it, and in any case this recommendation does not
address how to find the short-duration and steady-state
current ratings.
M ANY US utilities are starting to require that PV power
plants be “effectively grounded” so that these plants will
not cause a ground fault overvoltage (GFO) on a three-
Second: ground potential rise calculations are also
phase four-wire feeder after the utility breaker opens. GFO is
needed often in this situation, but for PV grounding
a phenomenon that can occur if an ungrounded voltage source
transformers there is uncertainty regarding proper
feeds an ungrounded feeder containing a single-phase to
quantification of the current that leads to the ground
ground fault, resulting in a phase-to-ground overvoltage on the
potential rise. The existence of this problem is
unfaulted phases. The GFO phenomenon is well-known in
acknowledged in IEEE 367 Clause 4.4, but in the case of
rotating generators [1], but there is an ongoing debate about
PV grounding transformers, there is no clear guidance on
how to think of this phenomenon with inverter-based
how to solve it. This is especially true in the case in which
distributed generation that acts as a current source [2]. Until
the PV distribution or GSU transformer H and X neutrals,
that debate is resolved, utilities are understandably erring on
along with the grounding transformer neutral, all share
the side of caution, meaning that increasing numbers of
the same grounding electrodes, which is the most common
interconnect permits for inverter-based distributed generation
configuration in the field.
(DG) will run into utility policy requiring effective grounding.
This paper provides background on these problems, and
There is thus a need for a grounding transformer design
presents: a) a simple, fundamentally-based procedure for
procedure that is simple and minimally situationally-specific,
sizing PV grounding transformers that utilizes the IEEE
and that requires a minimum of input data from the utility, but
1547.8 recommendation and yields defensible but not
that still results in a grounding transformer specification that is
rigorously defensible. This paper proposes such a procedure.
Manuscript received September 11, 2014. This work was supported by Inclusion of a grounding transformer also gives rise to the
Advanced Energy Industries and Gerlicher Solar. possibility of ground potential rise (GPR) becoming an issue
M. Ropp, D. Schutz and C. Mouw are with Northern Plains Power at the DG site. This paper also suggests a method for
Technologies, Brookings, SD 57006 USA (phone: 605-692-8687; email: determining the fault current for use in GPR calculations.

III. GROUNDING TRANSFORMER SIZING However, for consistency with standard practice, that factor is
not considered here, and its exclusion will lead to a
A. Procedure
conservative design recommendation for the grounding
1) Fundamental considerations transformer.
Consider the generic distribution feeder shown There are several ways of obtaining the needed zero-
schematically in Figure 1. The utility source is at the left, and sequence path. One way is to connect the DG to the feeder
it serves the feeder through a substation transformer that using a Yg-delta distribution transformer, with the Yg on the
grounds the feeder, marked here as a delta-Yg. For simplicity, feeder side and probably grounded through a grounding
no loads are shown. At the right end of the distribution feeder reactor to control the fault current contribution. When viewed
is an inverter-based DG (a PV plant in this case), assumed from the Yg (feeder) side, this transformer provides a zero-
here to be tied to the feeder through a Yg-Yg distribution sequence path to ground through its delta winding [3] and
transformer. The PV plant has a grounding transformer, prevents GFO for faults on the distribution feeder. In this
shown here as a Yg-delta but which could also be a zigzag. configuration, a ground fault on the 480 V bus will result in a
GFO driven by the utility source. Thus, in this case it might
still be necessary to include a grounding transformer on the
distribution transformer LV bus.

Figure 1. One-line diagram of a generic 15 kV class feeder circuit, with a PV

plant and a Yg-delta grounding transformer.

The situation of concern to utilities occurs when a single

phase fault to ground occurs. To understand this situation,
consider Figure 2, which shows the sequence networks for
Phase A of the feeder in Figure 1 under a single-phase fault on
the PV plant 480 V bus, before opening of the substation
breaker. The top loop is the positive sequence network, the
middle loop is the negative sequence, and the bottom loop is
the zero sequence. The variables used in Figure 2 are listed in
Table 1. Derivation of the sequence networks and
interconnecting them to represent the single-phase fault is
explained in [3-5].
When unfaulted, the sequence networks are decoupled, and
since there are no sources in the negative or zero sequence
networks there are no currents in those loops. When the
Figure 2. The sequence networks of the generic feeder in Figure 1, including
single-phase fault occurs, the sequence networks become a single-phase fault on the PV plant 480 V bus.
coupled at the fault point through the fault impedance ZF.
Figure 2 shows that the inverter’s zero-sequence shunt Table 1. Variable names used in Figure 2.
impedance is infinite. This is true for most (but not all) DG IPVa1 Positive-sequence PV output current
inverters. While the utility is still connected, the substation Va1 Positive-sequence utility source voltage
transformer provides a path for zero-sequence currents, Z1,source; Z2,source; Z0,source Positive, negative and zero-sequence utility
source impedances
through the substation grounding impedance Z0,gnd,sub. Z1,line; Z2,line; Z0,line Positive, negative and zero-sequence impedances
However, when the utility’s overcurrent protection detects the of the distribution feeder between the substation
fault and opens, the feeder is cut off from the substation and the fault
transformer and Z0,gnd,sub. If the grounding transformer Z1,disttx; Z2,disttx; Z0,disttx Positive, negative and zero-sequence impedances
of the distribution transformer
impedance Z0,g were not present in Figure 2, the DG would not
Z1,inv,s; Z2,inv,s; Z0,inv,s Positive, negative and zero-sequence series
provide a path for the zero-sequence current, which would impedances of the inverter
then have to flow through the zero-sequence impedance of the Z1,inv,sh; Z2,inv,sh; Z0,inv,sh Positive, negative, and zero-sequence shunt
phase-ground connected load, the charging capacitances of the impedances of the inverter
feeder conductors, and any other phase-ground connected Z1,g; Z2,g; Z0,g Positive, negative and zero-sequence impedances
of the grounding transformer
impedances, such as arrestors. These phase-ground connected Z0,gnd,sub Substation grounding impedance (if not includes
loads and elements are not included in the sequence network in Z0,source)
diagram. This is standard practice, but this exclusion can Zf Fault impedance
cause an interpretation problem when dealing with inverter-
based DGs acting as current sources, because after opening of If a Yg-Yg distribution transformer is used to connect the
the utility breaker it is these elements that provide the path for DG to the feeder, then a separate grounding transformer can
the DG currents. The phase voltages and any resulting GFO be used to effectively ground the PV plant, and this
will then be determined by the DG phase currents and the configuration is the topic of the present paper. Grounding
current-voltage relationship of the Yg-connected load. transformers are either Yg-delta or zigzag types, both of which

provide the finite zero sequence shunt impedance needed to result is obtained. Then, the grounding transformer reactance
mitigate GFO. It is assumed that the grounding transformer is and resistance, Xg and Rg, are found using these relationships:
connected on the LV side of the distribution transformer.
The grounding transformer must have sufficient current- (2)
handling capability to survive three sets of conditions: the
fault current that flows after the fault strikes but before the
utility breaker opens, the fault current that flows after the (3)
utility breaker opens but before the PV trips, and the steady-
state circulating current that will flow in the grounding
transformer due to phase-phase voltage imbalance under For example, a 500 kVA (500 kW) inverter connected at 480
normal unfaulted operating conditions. Inverter fault current V has a Zbase,PV of 0.4608 , so the required Xg of the
contributions are limited; during the fault, the inverter current grounding transformer would be 0.276 , and the grounding
will typically be on the order of 1.2 times the inverter’s rated transformer’s Rg value can be anything less than or equal to
current [6], meaning that the PV fault current contribution will 69.1 m. The value of 60% of Zbase,PV corresponds to a
be much smaller than the utility-driven fault current that flows steady-state fault current contribution of about 167% of the
before disconnection. Thus, the fault current flowing after PV nominal current, which is a conservative value. In this
initiation of the fault but before the utility breaker opens will document, we will assume that Rg = Xg/4 (i.e., the maximum
be the current that determines the short-term current handling allowed Rg value), because this minimizes the grounding
capability the transformer must possess. The steady-state transformer size without violating the requirements for TOV
circulating current can also be sizeable, depending on the prevention. In general, one should also allow for a tolerance
transformer impedance and the level of phase-phase voltage band on these impedances, so in this paper a ±10% tolerance
imbalance expected on the feeder. on the impedance values is assumed.
Figure 1 shows a representation of a generic distribution
2) Grounding transformer electrical specification feeder with a PV plant and a grounding transformer on the PV
To electrically specify the grounding transformer, one must plant’s 480 V bus. This is the configuration that will be
specify six parameters: the transformer’s nominal terminal considered throughout this document. This basic
voltage (assumed here to be 480 VLL,RMS), the zero-sequence configuration is the same whether a zigzag or Yg-delta
current required and its duration (taken here to be 2 sec), the grounding transformer is used.
continuous circulating current the transformer must endure
due to steady-state phase-phase voltage imbalance on the B. Grounding Transformer Sizing Results
feeder, and the transformer’s zero-sequence impedances R0 1) Calculation of the steady-state circulating current
and X0. The strategy used here is to first find the transformer rating
impedances, and then use those to calculate the transformer’s The steady-state circulating current in the grounding bank
needed fault current and continuous current withstand arises because of the zero-sequence component of the
capabilities. unbalanced distribution feeder phase voltages. Denote the
There are two methods by which the transformer impedance circulating current by Ig’. Looking at Figure 2, the DG
is commonly specified. One is from IEEE-142 [7] and appears on the right of each of the sequence networks. It is
involves setting the grounding transformer impedances (R0 usually assumed that the DG current is entirely positive
and X0) so that the ratios of R0/X1 and X0/X1 of the circuit sequence, so the DG current source becomes an open circuit in
without the utility connected result in a TOV of 120% or less. the negative and zero sequences. Because we are concerned
This process involves drawing the sequence network circuit, with the time period between the initiation of the fault and
and the R0, X0 and X1 values referred to in the ratios are those opening of the utility breaker, we will assume that the DG
of the circuit, again with the utility disconnected. Usually, the inverter’s shunt impedances in the sequence domain, Z1,inv,sh
recommended values for the ratios are X0/X1 ≤ 3, and R0/X1 ≤ and Z2,inv,sh, are large enough at 60 Hz relative to the other
1. However, this definition can be difficult to use with impedances in the circuit that the currents through them can be
inverters because it is difficult to properly define the inverter’s neglected while the utility is still connected.
positive- and negative-sequence impedances. Because of the open circuit at the far right of the zero-
The other means for finding the transformer impedances sequence network, the DG’s zero-sequence impedance is
appears in an appendix to draft standard IEEE 1547.8 [8]. In entirely determined by the impedance of the grounding
this approach, one first finds the impedance base of the transformer. Also, notice that the grounding transformer only
inverter, Zbase,PV, as follows: appears in the zero sequence network. Because the grounding
transformer is not serving load on its secondary windings
(1) (which is usually, but not always, true), there is an open circuit
on the secondary side of the grounding transformer’s positive
and negative sequences, so only zero sequence currents can
where VPV is the line-to-neutral PV plant terminal voltage and flow in the grounding transformer.
SPV is the plant’s rated output apparent power per phase in VA. Because the impedance of the grounding transformer is
Note that 1) SPV usually equals PPV because PV plants known from Equations (2) and (3), it is now possible to find
normally operate at unity power factor; and 2) if one uses the the circulating current Ig’ by determining the zero-sequence
line-line voltage and total three-phase SPV, the same numerical voltage across the grounding bank as a function of the phase-

phase imbalance. Using that voltage, Ohm’s Law will give

Ig’. and
The first step in this process is to determine an expression Substituting these relationships into Equation (9) and
for the zero-sequence voltage across Z0,g that results from a performing the indicated algebra, the following result is
given level of phase-phase voltage imbalance. To obtain this obtained:
relationship, we first write expressions for the phase voltages
expressing the level of unbalance. For generality, we will (10)
allow for different levels of imbalance on each phase. We will
assume the Phase A voltage Va to be the reference, so that it
has a magnitude of 1 per unit and a phase of zero. Then, let Equation (10) gives the zero-sequence voltage as a function of
the ratio of Vb to Va be x and the ratio of Vc to Va be y. This the percent imbalance, under the assumptions described above.
can be written: Now the circulating current can be found using the circuit in
Figure 2 by setting the voltage across the grounding
transformer impedance equal to the zero-sequence voltage at
(5) that point and using Ohm’s Law:

where a is the 120o phase shift operator. The symmetrical

components of this unbalanced set of voltages are: (11)

(6) However, empirical data, along with simulation results

performed using the MATLAB/Simulink model in Figure 3
and a well-validated manufacturer-specific inverter model [2],
suggest that Equation (11) consistently underpredicts the
Substituting Equations (4) and (5) into (6) and carrying out the continuous current expected to flow in the grounding
top line of the matrix multiplication to get Va0, the following transformer. The reason is that two of the assumptions that
expression results: were used to simplify Equation (8) to Equation (10) are not
entirely valid. First, in the real world, the phase imbalance is
not symmetrical. For example, for x = 1 and y = 1.05, the
magnitude of Va0 from Equation (9) becomes 15% larger than
Note that the general form of Equation (7) for arbitrary x and y for the symmetrical case of x = 0.975, y = 1.025 (P = 5% in
and for arbitrary phase shifting between phases, would be: both cases). Figure 4 shows a surface plot of the magnitude of
Va0, relative to the P = 5% case, as a function of x and y. Note
(8) that for feeder imbalances up to 10%, which is a larger value
than expected in practice, the largest value seen in the surface
where b and c are the Phase B and Phase C phase shifts plot in Figure 4 is 2.0. Second, under unbalanced conditions,
relative to Phase A. Equation (8) will become important the phase voltages are not necessarily spaced by 120o.
shortly, but for the time being, we rewrite Equation (7) in Simulations conducted using the MATLAB model shown in
rectangular form, making use of the fact that Figure 3 suggest that for 5% imbalance or greater, b and c
may be shifted by two or three degrees on each phase. The
primary impact of the phase separation being different than
and . 120o is imperfect cancellation of terms in Equation (8). Figure
5 shows a surface plot of the magnitude of Va0, relative to the
case of P = 5% and normal phase shifts, as a function of b
This gives: and c. Figure 5 suggests that Equation (8) is quite sensitive
(9) to changes in the phases, with the change in the magnitude of
Va0 approaching a factor of 4, but fortunately in practice the
phase changes are rarely such that the change in Va0 is very
Equation (9) is a generalized expression for the magnitude of large, and this factor can be neglected.
Va0 for arbitrary values of x and y but for b = 120o and c = - To get an exact value, one should use Equation (8) directly,
120o. An additional simplifying assumption can be made: for but in the planning stage one does not know the values of x, y,
planning calculations, the phase-phase voltage imbalance is b or c. Thus, to arrive at an equation that gives a realistic
often approximated by assuming that the Phase B and C value but maintains the simplicity of Equation (11), based on
voltages are equally spaced from the Phase A voltage. For the results in Figures 4 and 5, the proposed procedure is to
example, if the total imbalance is 5%, then Phase B would be double Equation (11), resulting in Equation (12).
assumed to be 2.5% above Phase A and Phase C would be
2.5% below. Define P to be the percent imbalance between
the phases. Then, (12)

90% of Va1, if the substation grounding impedance Z0,gnd,sub is

on the order of an ohm or larger (which would be unusual in
practice; for well-designed substations, this value should be in
the low hundreds of milliohms). Thus, it would be prudent to
simply use the worst-case value of fault current and set the
fraction equal to 100%:


The reader should bear in mind that Equation (13) neglects

Figure 3. Generic feeder model and inverter used to test the grounding the PV plant’s contribution to the fault current. If for a
transformer design equations.
particular inverter that assumption is questionable, the
inverter’s fault current contribution should be added to Ig, but
in most cases that should be unnecessary.
C. Example grounding transformer sizing results
Table 2 shows the calculated X0, Ig, and Ig’ for three sizes of
PV plant and two planning levels of phase-phase voltage
imbalance. The interconnection voltage is assumed to be 480
VLL,RMS. For the Ig and Ig’ results, the ±10% tolerance band on
the transformer impedances has been taken into account (i.e.,
the currents were calculated using 90% of the transformer
Figure 4. Surface plot of the magnitude of Va0, relative to its magnitude for impedance shown in Table 2 in Equations (12) and (13)).
the symmetrical P = 5% case, as a function of x and y.
Table 2. Example grounding transformer sizing results, assuming a 480 V
interconnect voltage and 10% tolerance on the transformer impedance.
PV plant size (kW)
Expected imbalance 600 1400 3500
Z0 (ohms) 0.058+j0.23 0.025+j0.099 0.0099+j0.039
2.0% Ig' (A) 15 35 87
Ig (A) 1300 3025 7563
Z0 (ohms) 0.058+j0.23 0.025+j0.099 0.0099+j0.039
2.5% Ig' (A) 19 44 109
Ig (A) 1300 3025 7563


Figure 5. Plot of the magnitude of Va0, normalized to the case of P = 5% at
normal phase shifts (±120o), as a function of b and c.
A. Procedure
Once the decision is made to include a grounding
If P is the expected percent imbalance expressed as a fraction, transformer at a DG installation site, it may become necessary
Va1 is the pre-fault positive sequence voltage (VRMS,LN), and Zg to ensure that ground potential rise (GPR) does not become a
is the complex impedance (R0 + jX0) of the grounding problem, particularly if there are conductive (i.e., not fiber or
transformer expressed in ohms, then Ig’ will be the circulating microwave) communications channels to the PV site.
current in amps. The GPR at the site is the product of the impedance to
Comparison against simulation results indicates that remote earth and the current that flows through it. The
Equation (12) consistently overpredicts the value of Ig’, impedance that should be used in this calculation is typically
thereby providing a conservative design. calculated using the procedure described in IEEE-367 [9].
However, it is fairly common that engineers will use the
2) Calculation of the fault current withstand rating utility’s calculated single-phase fault current in this
The fault current withstand capability of the grounding calculation, along with a fault current division factor that
transformer can be calculated using a procedure similar to that accounts for the division of current among the various
used to find the circulating current. Because the zero- grounding paths in the circuit (also from [9]). The problem
sequence impedance is known, if the zero-sequence voltage with this practice is that the utility’s fault current calculation is
during a fault were known, then Ohm’s Law gives the fault normally done with the fault impedance and grounding
current withstand requirement. The key lies in determining a electrode impedances all set to zero. This leads to a
reasonable value for the zero-sequence voltage during a fault. contradiction, because the resistances that are set to zero in
We know from Figure 2 that the sequence networks create an this calculation are part of the physical mechanism that creates
impedance divider such that the zero-sequence voltage will be GPR in the first place. Thus, using the utility’s single-phase
some fraction of Va1. Examples in the literature [3] and from fault current as the starting point leads to GPR values that are
simulation results suggest that Va0 values can be as high as too high. The purpose of this section is to propose a more
accurate symmetrical component model for calculating the

fault current to be used in the GPR calculation, in cases

involving a PV plant grounding transformer.
Figure 6 shows a circuit diagram of a distribution feeder
including the substation source, feeder impedance, a single-
phase fault applied to Phase A on the MV side of the
distribution transformer, a Yg-Yg generator step-up
transformer, and a grounding transformer, shown here as a
zigzag transformer. The phases are color-coded to make the
diagram easier to read. Fault current flows from Phase A to
ground through the fault, and re-enters the system via the
grounding electrodes as shown. The sequence networks that
correspond to this situation are shown in Figure 7. The fault
impedance, ZF, and the “grounding impedance” seen by the
fault, RFgnd, are shown separately. For present purposes, the
fault impedance ZF can be neglected because in most cases it
is much less than RFgnd. The sequence network in Figure 7 can
now be solved to determine the single phase to ground fault
current that can be used as a starting point in a GPR
calculation. Figure 8 shows the sequence networks for the
situation in which the fault is on the LV side of the
distribution transformer. Figure 7. Sequence networks for an SLG fault on the MV bus, including the
In general, it will be easiest to solve these sequence network impedances to remote earth.
circuits using a circuit simulator like PSpice. The reason is
because the zero-sequence networks in Figures 7 and 8 form
the Wheatstone bridge configuration, and this causes the
closed-form solution of this circuit to be cumbersome for by-
hand calculations. Figure 9 demonstrates how the zero-
sequence network in Figure 7 can be redrawn as a Wheatstone

Figure 6. Distribution feeder with a Yg-Yg distribution transformer, Figure 8. Sequence networks for an SLG fault on the LV bus, including the
grounding transformer, and an SLG fault on Phase A. impedances to remote earth.

In addition, it is important to realize that when the Equation (13) is obviously not a new result [10], but many of
distribution transformer’s H-side and X-side neutrals share the the newer reference books used today, especially by younger
same grounding electrode, which is commonly the case, the power engineers trying to understand transformers and
zero-sequence impedance of the distribution transformer, symmetrical components, do not cover this case of a Yg-Yg
Zadisttx0, as seen from the MV side, is given by [10]: transformer with a common H-X neutral.
If the inverter-side voltage of the PV distribution
transformer is 480 V and the feeder-side voltage is 12.47 kV,
then N  26, so that

where Zadisttx1 is the positive-sequence impedance of the (14)

transformer referred to the MV side, N is the turns ratio, and
ZG is the impedance to remote earth along with any
deliberately-added grounding impedance.

Because ZG will have a value of several ohms in most cases The yellow block at the far right end of the feeder contains
and is multiplied by 3, neglecting this term can introduce a a PV plant and grounding transformer. The contents of that
significant error into the calculated zero-sequence impedance. yellow block are shown in Figure 11, in which the orange
block at the center is the Yg-Yg generator step-up transformer,
the yellow blocks at the upper left are the PV inverter
modules, and the solid green block is the grounding
transformer. Using switches and the red blocks at the bottom
of Figure 11, an SLG fault can be applied directly to the MV
or LV bus of the distribution transformer.

Figure 11. Contents of the yellow block at the right in Figure 10.

Table 3 compares the results obtained using the two models,

using the detailed model as the reference. Results are shown
for a fault on the LV side of the Yg-Yg distribution
transformer, and on the MV side. According to these results,
the symmetrical component model produces essentially the
same results as the highly detailed model, and thus is a
reasonable representation of the situation.
Figure 9. Demonstration that the zero-sequence network in Figure 7 can be Table 3. RMS GPR predicted by detailed and sequence network models of
redrawn as a Wheatstone bridge, where Za’ = Zasource0 + Zaline0 + Zadisttx0. the feeder model described in [11].
Case Detailed model Seq net model Percent
description result (Vrms) result (Vrms) error
B. Testing via simulation
LV-side fault 272.2 271.8 -0.15%
The use of the sequence networks to determine GPR was MV side fault 38.7 38.0 1.81%
tested by building the sequence network model in
MATLAB/SimPowerSystems, and comparing it against a
highly detailed model of the feeder in Reference [11], also in V. CONCLUSIONS
SimPowerSystems. The feeder in [11] was designed to test
TOV and GPR situations, and [11] includes validation data for Until there is a resolution to the ongoing debate over whether
the feeder model, so this selection of test system makes sense inverter-based DG requires effective grounding, there is a
for present purposes. In the symmetrical component model, need for:
the GPR at the PV plant is the voltage that appears across a) a simple, robust design procedure for electrically
RPVgrid in Figures 7 and 8. The detailed MATLAB/Simulink specifying grounding transformers that does not involve
model is shown in Figure 10. The green block is the excessive overdesign but still meets safety and reliability
substation, and the separate feeder segments are the black and needs; and
white blocks. The red-outlined blocks are locations at which b) a means for calculating the correct current for determining
faults can be applied. The solid blue blocks are measurement GPR, especially when the GSU transformer H and X
blocks. neutrals share the same ground electrodes with the
grounding transformer.

This paper has presented recommendations and suggestions

intended to meet both of these needs, and it is hoped that these
procedures will help in removing a barrier to deployment of
PV in distribution systems while maintaining system safety
and security.
Figure 10. Model of the distribution feeder described in [11], with a PV
plant and grounding transformer added in the yellow block at the far right (see
Figure 11).

The authors gratefully acknowledge a) the financial support of
Advanced Energy and Gerlicher Solar, and b) the invaluable
technical assistance of Tom Yohn, Michael Beanland, Marc
Johnson, Matthew Charles, and Lou Gasper.

[1] H. B-L. Lee, S. Chase, R. Dugan, “Overvoltage Considerations for
Interconnecting Dispersed Generators With Wye-Grounded Distribution
Feeders”, IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, vol.
PAS-103 No. 12, December 1984, p. 3587-3594.
[2] M.E. Ropp, M. Johnson, D. Schutz, S. Cozine, “Effective Grounding of
Distributed Generation Inverters May Not Mitigate Transient and
Temporary Overvoltage”, Proceedings of the 2012 Western Protective
Relay Conference, September 2012.
[3] P. M. Anderson, Analysis of Faulted Power Systems, originally
published by Iowa State University Press 1973, republished by IEEE
Press 1995, ISBN 9780780311459. (This book is now available online
free of charge from the IEEE.)
[4] J. Blackburn, Symmetrical Components for Power Systems Engineering,
CRC Press 1995, ISBN 9780824787676.
[5] J. Glover, M. Sarma, T. Overbye, Power System Analysis and Design,
5th ed., Cengage Learning 2012, ISBN 9781111425777.
[6] Microgrids: Architectures and Control, ed. N. Hatziargyriou, pub. IEEE
Press 2014, ISBN 9781118720684. See page 123.
[7] IEEE Std 142-2007, “IEEE Recommended Practice for Grounding of
Industrial and Commercial Power Systems” (the Green Book).
[8] See IEEE 1547.8, Draft 2.0, November 2011, Appendix C, pg 147.
[9] IEEE Standard 367-2012: “IEEE Recommended Practice for
Determining the Electric Power Station Ground Potential Rise and
Induced Voltage from a Power Fault”.
[10] Electrical Transmission and Distribution Reference Book, pub.
Westinghouse Electric Corporation, 1964. See Table 7, page 804, entry
[11] J. Acharya, Y. Wang, W. Xu, “Temporary Overvoltage and GPR
Characteristics of Distribution Feeders with Multigrounded Neutral”,
IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery 25(2), April 2010, p. 1036-1044.

Michael Ropp (M’1999) received the BS in Music from the University of

Nebraska in 1992, and the MS and PhD in EE from the Georgia Institute of
Technology in 1996 and 1998 respectively. He is the President and Principal
Engineer of Northern Plains Power Technologies, and is a registered
Professional Engineer in SD and HI. He has 17 years’ experience and >50
publications in power engineering, power electronics, and photovoltaics.

Dustin Schutz (M’2010) received the BS in Electrical Engineering in 2006

and MS in Electrical Engineering in 2011, both from South Dakota State
University. Mr. Schutz has wide-ranging experience in power electronics,
embedded control systems, and power electronics and power system
simulation. His current work focuses on multi-inverter islanding scenarios
and microgrid controls.

Chris Mouw received the BSEE from South Dakota State University in 2008.
Mr. Mouw is presently with Northern Plains Power Technologies, Brookings,
SD, where he works on all aspects of modeling of electric power systems with
power electronics, automation of modeling, and many types of studies for